Why is it so hard to get up in the morning? Did God really create toads? And if you commit a sin, but are too drunk to remember, does it still count?

These are among the many questions posed by a son to his father in an Old French work sometimes known as the Dyalogue du pere et du filz (Dialogue of the Father and Son). Composed in northern France in the mid-thirteenth century, the Dyalogue is one of a number of didactic dialogues produced in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), which heralded a period of renewed pastoral vigour in Latin Christendom.

The Developing Dialogue Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2015-2018), seeks to situate the Dyalogue and related Old French dialogues in the broader context of late medieval pastoral care. Its chief output will be the first critical edition of the Dyalogue.

Huw Grange (Jesus College, Oxford)